Editor’s Note: This article originally published in September 2015. Dates and other data points have remained unchanged from the original piece.
To burn the candle at both ends. That’s the advice Melissa Pohlig gives to young adults, also known as millennials, everywhere. Originally her father’s advice, she says that millennials should banish the fear of overextending oneself at this age.
By becoming more involved in the industry, in other projects, groups and organizations, one gets the exposure and experience needed to succeed. But, most importantly, is the feeling of fulfillment, and what millennials are really looking for to feel like they’re making a difference in their lives and the world.
Pohlig, who is a product manager of the Solutions Team at SEI, also highlights the importance that advisors seek out the “HENRYs” or millennials that are already working in high-paying professions, but who don’t have enough assets to be categorized as high-net-worth. (HENRY is an acronym for High-Earning, Not Rich Yet.)
We sat down with Pohlig to find out how advisors can reach millennials and what she is doing to help bridge that gap.
LHP: Why did you choose a career in insurance or financial services?
MP: I knew that financial services was a rewarding career, but my love for it grew when I interned one summer at SEI.
I also like that, in our specific unit, we work with financial advisors, so I felt like I was working with small business owners and entrepreneurs like my dad. To me, helping them build better businesses and grow that business, that was my connection to the small business.
Our whole gig is basically that the advisors outsource their operation, technology and investment management to us, so that they can create better businesses. I like the business philosophy of, “If they’re successful, we’re successful.” We are their business partners. To me, I just really bought in to that model and I think it’s a win-win.
LHP: Describe what you do.
MP: I always laugh because if you look at my LinkedIn, technically my role is I’m a product manager on the solutions team, which means absolutely nothing to anyone. Basically, I always assume that they give you these broad titles because it’s kind of a catch-all for all that we do in product development. What our team does is we look across the industry and ask, “What are advisors having issues with that they’re facing today?”
We do our own research and develop our opinions. Rather than admiring the issue, we actually do something about it, like my boss says. We build some type of program or develop some type of product that will help them address the issue.
LHP: Share an achievement you are especially proud of.
MP: This always makes me sound like a geek, but I’m going to say it anyways. Earlier this year, we launched a workflow program and I consider that my biggest achievement at SEI.
Basically the issue that we were trying to solve for was this: Advisors use a lot of different types technologies and they are not sure how to leverage them. These advisors are small businesses, and they’re trying to become more efficient without adding more staff. Those two things combined, we were trying to figure out a way to leverage the technology to create more efficiency and help people with the integration.
Going back about 18 months ago when we first kicked off this project, our idea was basically, “Let’s take the high-end workflows that you would see in typical big corporations and sales forces, and let’s bring it to our 6,500 small business advisors via their CRM,” allowing them to be more efficient with the staff that they have, allowing them to be more efficient with the technology that they have.
We went through a million project plans, feedback, testing … it was a very long process. We finally launched this past May, and we had our first group of clients go through the program. They saw spectacular results with their businesses in terms of making their business more efficient. I find it very rewarding that I was able to build a program that has helped entrepreneurs. We have a beta client that doubled their numbers in financial plans and client meetings because of these workflows.